It has become almost a fetish of late, visiting those once great American cities whose precipitous rise was followed by a slow demise, an attempt by modernity to kill them by a thousand cuts of highways, parking lots, globalism, and unfriendly buildings. But in those cities–Cleveland, Detroit, Tulsa, St. Louis, and so on–what was left behind by those heady decades at the top of the world is spectacular. Museums filled with loot and lucre from around the world, architecture that revolutionized our lives in concert halls, grand libraries, and palaces fit for kings and queens.
To visit those cities is to taste what it was like visiting Rome a couple of centuries ago. Visitors wandering its sometimes dangerous streets can marvel at its wonders but for the self-centered nationalist, it led to one question–what caused their fall?
While the debate about what went wrong is interesting, equally insightful is seeing a place that is getting it right. I recently found myself in Cincinnati for our series on underrated destinations, It’s Still a Big World. Like so many other mid-size American cities, Cincinnati was once at the center of the industrializing world, but as the 20th century progressed it slowly declined, a hollowing out capped off by protests and riots in 2001 after an unarmed Black teen was killed by police. But in the two decades since, the city has regained its footing, and after a few days walking all over this charming city, what became clear is that something here is working. This is not a city dwindling away, but rather thriving, intriguing, and very much alive.
Source: The Daily Beast
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